Australian Fire Danger Ratings

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Living in a bushfire risk area means danger is on your doorstep.

The new Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) is your simplified survival tool. Its daily forecast tells you how dangerous a bushfire would be if it broke out, and what you need to do to stay safe on Moderate, High, Extreme and Catastrophic days.

The new Australian Fire Danger Rating System. Learn to live by it.

The Fire Danger Rating is an indicator of how dangerous a bushfire could be if it did occur. It is not a predictor of how likely a bushfire is to occur. It should be used as an early indicator to trigger your plans.

You need to understand the Fire Danger Rating to help you assess your level of bushfire risk and to decide what actions to take.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts the rating each day. The higher the Fire Danger Rating, the more dangerous the fire conditions.

The Fire Danger Rating will help you understand the predicted bushfire behaviour, potential impacts and recommended actions you should take for each category level. We recommend you take the time to review and understand the ratings.


  • Fires can threaten suddenly and without warning
  • Watch for signs of fire, especially smoke and flames
  • Know the Fire Danger Rating in your area for the day, be aware of local conditions and keep informed
  • Have your Bushfire Survival Plan and kit ready
  • Call 000 to report a fire
  • To find out more
    • listen to local radio,
    • call the Information Hotline on 1800 362 361 (TTY 133 677).

Understanding the new system

From 1 September 2022, Australia's Fire Danger Rating System will be improved and simplified, to make it easier for you to make decisions to stay safe on days of fire danger risk.

The move to a simpler system is backed by improvements in science, which will mean we can better predict areas of greater risk on days of fire danger.

Across the country there will be nationally consistent colours and terminology. This means that wherever you go in Australia, and whatever the season or fuels you’re surrounded by, you can understand the level of threat and what you need to do to stay safe.

Levels of fire danger risk

Fire Danger Rating

What does it mean?

What should I do?


Most fires can be controlled

  • Controlled burning may occur in these conditions if it is safe – check to see if permits apply

Plan and prepare

  • Stay up to date
  • Be ready to act if there is a fire

Fires can be dangerous

  • There's a heightened risk
  • If a fire starts, your life and property may be at risk

Be ready to act

  • Be alert for fires in your area
  • Decide what you will do if a fire starts

Fires will spread quickly and be extremely dangerous

  • These are dangerous fire conditions
  • You must be physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions

Take action now to protect your life and property

  • Check your Bushfire Survival Plan and that your property is fire ready
  • If a fire starts, take immediate action. If you and your property are not prepared to the highest level, go to a safer location well before the fire impacts
  • Reconsider travel through bushfire risk areas

If a fire starts and takes hold, lives are likely to be lost

  • These are the worst conditions for a bush or grass fire
  • Homes are not designed or constructed to withstand fires in these conditions
  • The safest place to be is away from high risk bushfire areas

For your survival, leave bushfire risk areas

  • Stay safe by leaving high risk bushfire areas the night before or early in the day – do not wait and see
  • Your life may depend on the decisions you make even before there is a fire:
    • When you will leave
    • Where you will go
    • How you will get there
    • When you will return
    • What you will do if you cannot leave


The AFDRS introduces ‘no rating’ for days where no proactive action is required by a community. This does not mean that fires cannot happen, but that they are less likely to move or act in a way that threatens the safety of the community.

Fire Danger Ratings vs Warnings

AFDRS visual device
Warning icon - fire - yellowWarning icon - fire - orangeWarning icon - fire - red

Fire Danger Ratings

Describe the potential level of danger a community could face, should a bushfire start. Use Fire Danger Ratings to understand and act before a fire starts.


Provide information about what to do during a hazard, such as a bushfire. Use Warnings to understand what danger you're in, and what you need to do to stay safe.


Fire danger ratings describe the potential level of danger should a bushfire start and are calculated using a combination of weather forecasting and information about vegetation that could fuel a fire.
Extensive social research found that most people in bushfire risk areas didn’t understand the old system. There were calls for a simpler, action-oriented system.
The science that sits behind Fire Danger Rating modelling is being improved. A better understanding of how different fuel types burn and improvements in technology means we can more accurately predict the risk faced by communities on any given day.
Industries and members of the community who need more information will be able to access the Fire Behaviour Index, which will give a more in-depth level of detail about the fire danger.
Community research found that most people were familiar with the old system, it just seemed too technical and irrelevant for them. We have made significant changes to how we calculate fire danger risk, so that the ratings and information provided to the community is more accurate.
The AFDRS is being coordinated by NSW RFS and AFAC (the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services), with support from the Bureau of Meteorology. A National Program Board, with representation from each of the State and Territories’ fire agencies are overseeing the program, which is being delivered by local implementation teams.